Bank reported to nix transfer of Hamas salaries

Senior official claims that funds from Qatar were denied because bank was ‘receiving orders from outside’

Senior Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouk (AP/Hatem Moussa)
Senior Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouk (AP/Hatem Moussa)

A money transfer from Qatar intended to cover the salaries of Gazan civil servants from the Hamas movement hit a snag Saturday after the Arab Bank refused the handover, a senior Hamas official said.

“The state of Qatar graciously transferred money to the Arab Bank, but with an extravagant sense of Arab nationalism, the Arab Bank refused to take the money,” Hamas No. 2 Moussa Abu Marzouk, wrote sarcastically on Facebook, the Ma’an news agency reported.

Marzouk, who is currently in exile in Egypt, added that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the new unity government “are still looking for a mechanism” to successfully transfer the funds.

Qatar has agreed to continue paying the thousands of people who worked under the Hamas government despite the fact that the terrorist organization and Fatah formed a unity government earlier this month.

According to Ma’an, the Qatari decision staved off the possibility that Hamas’s former employees would protest the new government.

The Arab Bank is headquartered in Amman and has branches throughout the Arab world.

Although the Arab Bank’s reasons for rejecting the transfer are not currently known, Abu Marzouk’s statement said that some Palestinians prefer “receiving orders from outside,” implying that the decision was politically motivated.

“It is unconscionable to deprive employees who are doing their work of their wages,” he added. “Unity will not be built on tyranny or discrimination.”

Since 2007, the two Palestinian factions have each run their own governments — Hamas in Gaza and Abbas in autonomous areas of the West Bank. Hamas hired 40,000 public employees after 2007, while Abbas’s loyalists in the Gaza administration stopped going to their jobs, though they continued to draw their wages.

The salaries issue was a focus of tension between Hamas and Fatah after the reconciliation agreement was signed, and banks in the Gaza Strip were closed for six days after the Hamas workers’ salaries were not transferred.

In light of the ongoing crisis surrounding the kidnapping of three Israeli teens, which Israel has blamed on Hamas, the Palestinian Authority has frozen the reconciliation process with Hamas which led to the establishment earlier this month of a Palestinian unity government.

Following statements made June 16 by a senior Palestinian official, who told The Times of Israel that if it was proved that Hamas was behind the kidnappings the PA would reevaluate the unity pact, the Palestinian government convened on Tuesday and decided that it would continue to refrain from paying the salaries of former Hamas government officials.

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